It was really neat to see the interestingly optioned pre-production Audi 90S V6 last week, but more from a curiosity standpoint. As many noted, what’s the market on a front drive pre-production Audi 90 with 200 miles? It would take a very special and specific fan to be interested in that chassis. The same can’t be said of today’s example. When it came to tuning up the Type 89 quattros, Audi offered a few options; the DOHC 7A motor with 164 horsepower came to the U.S., but European markets also got the stellar S2 in 20V Turbo form. Though both were most common in Coupe quattro form, sedans and even for European customers Avants later were available with the legendary turbocharged mill. However, let’s not forget that technically the 20V Turbo wasn’t the top of the heap in 1989, since Audi had just launched the revolutionary quad-cam all-aluminum 3.6 V8. That motor was the signature mill of the eponymous V8 quattro. Out of the box, the V8 was the most powerful Audi on offer, but the engine package would only be available initially in the D11 chassis, but in 4.2 form it would later be offered in the C4 S4/S6 as well. The first small chassis Audi with a V8 wouldn’t be until the B6 S4, right? Well, wrong, because a few generations prior Audi apparently toyed with the idea in some development 80s:
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I’ll get this out of the way off the bat; not everyone likes the Audi TT, and yes, it’s not really a sports car. But excusing that it’s not a 911 although it’s similarly shaped, is it really that much of a pretender? Tight body curves that were really avant garde in the late 1990s reveal a beautifully crafted interior with lots of special details to let you know you were in a premium product. Under the hood, in its most potent form the 1.8T was quite capable as well, with 225 horsepower resulting in mid-6 sec 0-60 runs in stock form and punchy delivery. And while the Haldex-driven but “quattro” branded all-wheel drive wasn’t as slick as Audi’s other all-wheel drive systems, it works just fine in most conditions. So let’s take a look at two nice examples of these budget sports coupes:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 quattro on eBay
From yesterday’s end of the run B2 Audi 90, today we have another special feature on a unique Audi. While the B3 heavily revised the safety, aerodynamics, comfort and luxury for the small Audi range, weight went up and power was effectively the same, meaning that the B3 was at a distinct performance disadvantage to the natural rival BMW. Audi did increase the amount of power that the B3 quattros had at their disposal with the introduction of the 7A 20V motor in 1990, but the twin-cam inline-5 wasn’t available in front drive Audis which sold in greater number. That gulf grew wider as BMW upped the power again with the new E36 chassis, now with the best part of 190 horsepower available in the 325i. To answer the competition, Audi heavily revised both its large and small chassis in for the 1991 and 1992 model years. The C4 model was introduced late in 1990 in Europe, and while Audi did away with the 200 model the new S4 ostensibly replaced it with even more sport. But the 100 saw massive changes too, with the introduction of automatic transmissions to the quattro range widening the appeal of the model. Though the V8 quattro had offered that option previously, it was a much more expensive model and the 100 was also available in Avant form. But the big change was under the hood, where a AAH 12 valve single cam 2.8 liter V6 replaced the previous NG/NF 2.3 naturally aspirated inline-5 and MC1/2 2.2 turbocharged inline-5 power units of the 100 quattro and front-drive and 200 Turbo front wheel drive models, respectively.
In the small chassis, Audi continued to offer two different chassis levels for the newly introduced for 1992 B4. Carrying over from the C4 range was the same 172 horsepower 2.8 V6, powering either all four wheels or the front wheels only. Few mechanical changes were made to the quattro models versus earlier inline-5 models, but the front drivers received more refinement from a trailing arm torsion beam axle instead of the previous Panhard rod design. Outside, new front and rear fascia was mostly expressed by integrating the hood and grill to match the C4 design. Fender flares increased, new contoured hoods offered more character, and different bumper covers updated the look slightly. New wheel designs were also incorporated into the B4 lineup, with 10 spoke Speedline-made wheels being standard and optional Ronal “Sport” 5-spoke wheels, both in a slightly greater 37mm offset as opposed to the 45mm offset of early B3 models (with the exception of the Coupe). There were plenty of other minor changes inside and out that added up to a very different and more refined feel versus the earlier B3. But Audi needed to provide some time for U.S. dealers to relaunch the new 90 model range. So, while in 1991 you could buy either a 90 quattro 20V or 80 quattro, in 1992 there was only a 80 model available – no 90s were sold. This coincided with the lowest sales figures for the small chassis Audi had recorded. The new 90 would launch here in late 1992 as a 1993 model in both quattro and FrontTrak form. And to help promote the new model, Audi brought over a few pre-production models, one of which we have here:
Email Seller: 1992 Audi 90S on German Cars For Sale Blog
Familiar to U.S. fans as the Audi 4000, in the rest of the world Audi continued a naming tradition that dated back to the 1960s regarding engine output. Most of the models didn’t make it here, but prior to the 1980s there were Audi 50s, 60s, 80s and 100s. The original B1 80 was also called the Fox here, not to be confused with the later Volkswagen Fox model. When Audi switched to the B2 chassis, the U.S. nomenclature changed to the 4000 most remember. And there were several engine configurations available initially, including a diesel, turbo diesel, inline-4 and inline-5 motor in both 2 and 4 door configuration, along with the stablemate Coupe GT model though the designations no longer aligned with engine power. By the time Audi progressed to 1984 and the introduction of the 80/4000 quattro, though, engine choices dwindled. In the Coupe GT, you could only get the 5-cylinder motor – effectively the same motor that was available in the quattro but with a slightly different exhaust manifold that netted 5 more horsepower in the sedan. Otherwise, if you bought a 4000 front drive model, you got a 1.8 inline-4 that was shared with the Volkswagen model range. This continued with the refreshed models in 1985, with the only further engine change being the later 1987.5 Coupe GTs switching to the NG 2.3 130 horsepower motor.
However, in Europe there were still many configurations you could get the B2 in. There were two model levels; 80 and 90, with the later being the more upscale version with more powerful motors. This would be seen in the U.S. later with the B3 run, but in Europe there were pretty substantial differences visually and mechanically between the 80 and 90. The 90 was, for all intents and purposes, a Coupe GT under the skin. In 4-door guise, it retained the larger 10.1″ vented front brakes mated to 4×108 wheels instead of 4×100. Outside the aerodynamic bumper covers only made their way onto 90 models, while 80s carried bumper covers that looked very similar to the pre-85 models. The engine was the same 2.2 inline-5 that would be found in the quattro models, with European variants producing a few more horsepower than U.S. markets. As with the Coupe GT, these were expensive models that were more heavily taxed than the smaller motored 80s, and consequently they’re not seen as often. But a seller contacted us with a pretty stunning example that’s worth taking a look at.
Email Seller: 1985 Audi 90 on German Cars For Sale Blog
We look at a lot of infrequently seen cars on these pages, but sometimes one really stands out to me, and that was the case with this 1997 Audi A4. Now, rarity is not on the side of the Audi A4, even in its least sold configuration. In its launch year of 1996, Audi shifted more A4s than it sold cars in total in each model year of 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. In fact, the only reason the company didn’t sell more 1996 A4s than 1995 total cars was because a few 1996 models were sold at the end of 1995, upping the overall sales for that year. It was a wildly popular model though underneath there were overall few changes to what you could buy in the 1995 90 quattro. Even the look was a scaled down version of the 1993/4 ASF (A8) concept. But that didn’t matter – it was great looking, sporty and compact with a quality feel and still held the trump card for all-wheel drive in the small market. Unlike earlier models where the front-drive version of the chassis outsold the quattro versions, the A4 was also the first to really sell with a majority of all-wheel drive; about 80% (16,333 out of 20,671) of those that were sold in 1997 were so equipped. That would make a FrontTrak model much more rare than what we’re seeing here, so why claim this car isn’t often seen? Well, it’s just not. Think about the last time you saw a really clean pre-facelift A4. I’ll wait. Sure, there are a handful out there, but as with earlier Audis the residuals dropped and most were neglected. The A4, in addition to being a sales success, also brought Audi fully into the disposable luxury class. People that had previously bought Audis generally treasured them, especially so of the quattros. But with the A4, in many ways the small executive just became a German Camry. It was a nice Camry and that name has such a negative connotation it’s not fair to associate with, but moving into a more mainstream sales bracket also diluted the enthusiastic ownership of the brand.
On top of that, 1997 launched a new direction for the A4 which was the introduction of the 1.8T turbocharged power plant. While not a potent mill out of the box, enthusiasts (especially those downstream of initial purchase) welcomed the return of turbos to Audi and the ensuing modifications began. The result of all of this was that while the A4 was popular, it was no longer the heirloom quality automobile that models like the 4000 had been. It became, in many ways, just another car, and ultimately these factors contribute to the result of a model which isn’t often seen in the wild any more: